Jamaica, the island with stunning beaches and a laid-back culture that lives up to its reputation, beach, surf, and sun in the third-largest English-speaking country in the Americas.
Jamaican cuisine is known all around the world for being a very varied gastronomy, just for their motto “Out of many, one people” you can understand the hymn to diversity that is Jamaica.
Being such a varied style of cuisine, it is easy to confuse the origins of this gastronomy. In general terms, its main roots come from great cultures from all over the world, such as the British, African, Asian, and Spanish cultures, who brought all their culinary traditions to this country and its locals, the Taino natives, soon adopted them and, in turn, added their particular touch with elements of their own culture.
Most tourists go there to enjoy the beautiful beaches of Jamaica, but the gastronomic culture is certainly reason enough to visit it.
Jamaica, a paradise full of flavor
Many foods, including a broad variety of seafood, tropical fruits, and meats, have been introduced and are now cultivated locally, in addition to ingredients that are unique to Jamaica.
As mentioned before, part of the magic of Jamaican cuisine is the different variations that have been made with local ingredients to culinary traditions brought from abroad by the European colonists, but also many other new recipes and original dishes have sprung up over time.
Therefore, Jamaica’s typical food is made up of dishes that are not completely original of the region, but that over time have assimilated very well and have acquired a characteristic touch of Jamaicans.
The basis of Jamaican cuisine is made up of fish, poultry, vegetables, fruits, spices, and of course rice. For all these reasons, it is a very healthy diet, in which only fresh food is used. Nevertheless, the intense flavor predominates in their dishes, due to the number of spices they use to marinate them.
Jamaican Rice and Peas
A perfect example of this celebrated cuisine is, claimed by many as the most popular dish in the country, Jamaican Rice and Peas.
It consists of a base of rice cooked with coconut milk, beans, and seasonings that give it an exquisite flavor. This is a very common dish throughout the Caribbean, however, in Jamaica, it has been nicknamed “Coat of Arms of Jamaica” because of its role as the main course in Jamaican cuisine. Most of the time it is served next to Chicken Jerk.
This mixture of rice and beans is also well known in several West African countries, such as Nigeria, where it is served accompanied by meat or fish.
On a curious note, “peas” in the Caribbean usually refers to beans rather than the little green peas eaten in Europe and North America.
If you ever have the opportunity to visit the island of Jamaica and you can try the local delicacies, we recommend you not to miss the chance to taste this delicious dish.
But if the idea of traveling doesn’t convince you, we invite you to visit https://minuterice.com/recipes/red-beans-and-rice/ for delightful rice recipes or try the following exquisite Jamaican rice and peas dish to make at home:
- 1 cup of dry light or dark beans (better if soaked overnight).
- 3 cups of water.
- 1 onion (diced).
- 2 green onions (diced, extra to garnish).
- 3 cloves of garlic (chopped).
- 5 whole berries of Pepper.
- 6 sprigs of fresh thyme.
- 1 Scottish pepper (optional).
- 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger (grated).
- Salt and pepper.
- 14 oz of full-fat coconut milk (sugar-free, Thai-style).
- 2 cups of long-grain white rice.
- Put the beans in a pot large enough and cover with water.
- Bring to a boil, then add onion, chives, garlic, pepper, thyme, Scottish pepper (if used), ginger, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.
- Next step is to add the coconut milk and bring it to a boil.
- Lower the heat and let it simmer until the beans are tender. This could take up to an hour.
- Add the rice to the pan and wait till it boils. Then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice becomes tender (about 20 min).
- Remove from the heat and let it stand for about 10 minutes with the lid on.
- Remove the thyme stems, the berries, and the scotch hat, then add a fork.
- Make sure seasoning is ok and add a little salt and pepper at your taste.
- Garnish with chives.
- Serve and enjoy!